All About “Self-Framing” Doors

enduraflap and hale cat door for hollow door - custom cat door dimensions for cat door without cutting doors

Wondering how to install a cat flap cat door by yourself? Or maybe how to install a dog door with ease?

Nothing makes a pet door installation easier than a self-framing pet door. These types of pet door frames can give your DIY project a clean, finished home improvement look. For hollow core doors or thin material, you need to frame them out. Without specific tools, this can be difficult. Or, if you have an existing hole in your door or wall that needs a door replacement, a self-framing option can make the selection process easier.

What Exactly Makes a Door “Self-Framing?”

These frames wrap from the inside of the door to the outside of the door. This type of frame results in your rough cut-out being hidden. When looking at size charts of self-framing doors, you will notice how the outside frame dimension is bigger than the rough cut-out. Depending on your surface material, this can reduce the amount of caulking necessary. In any case, we do recommend not to overlook caulking even with self-framing doors. Although these inside frames and exterior frames fit closer to walls and doors, caulking can ensure no moisture gets through the seam. You will not want to risk damage to your wall or door, so be sure to do some precautionary caulking.

Pre-Installation Notes

It is important to know that self-framing doors have specified installation locations. Certain models have a wall mount version and a door mount version. Be sure to choose the right one! Each self-framing door has an adjustment range to show how thin or thick of a material it can be installed in. Check the thickness or your door first to make sure the pet door will work. Interior doors will most likely be hollow core. An exterior door is typically a solid core. A cat door for hollow doors will need to be self-framing.

For Hollow Core Doors

Hale self framing dog and cat door for door  Ideal Deluxe door works for interior cat door or exterior door with built in pet door   Petsafe indoor cat door - how to install a cat door for hollow door

Hale Pet Door for Doors           Ideal “Deluxe” For Doors           PetSafe Electronic Smart Door

For Solid Core Doors

EnduraFlap for exterior doors with pet door  

Endura Flap Pet Door

Out With the Old, In With the New

A door purchased years ago may not suit you or your pet forever. Replacing a cat flap pet door when there is an existing hole cut can be tough. The first thing to do is to measure the existing width and height of the rough cut. Using specs on prospective pet doors, try and find one that has a comparable cut-out requirement. If you really want to find a new cat door without cutting your door up any further and there isn't a pet door that comes close to your original cat door's dimensions, Hale has a custom dimension pet door option. Self-framing models can make the selection process and cat door installation easier. In the event you purchase a slightly smaller model, self-framing doors are able to cover minute gaps. After covering the gaps, you can fill in the extra space to stabilize your pet door.

While most frame and flap assemblies sold are self-framing, we recommend sizing your potential pet door, as well as your door at home. None of the doors in the “For Doors” section are compatible to frame out a wall.

If you are looking for self-framing wall mounts, check out our pet doors for walls. These options include manual and electronic items. You can even find specifically made cat doors for walls. Self-framing doors are a great place to start your selection process when you already have an installation in mind. There are many options available, so make sure your pet’s new door companion is suitable for your home as well!

Cynthia Herrera

Written by

Cynthia Herrera

The Team is dedicated to providing the highest quality pet doors. As dog and cat lovers ourselves, we aim to write about the topics that matter the most to you and your furry friend. If you have any questions, please contact our customer service team. 🐶🐱

The Team is dedicated to providing the highest quality pet doors. As dog and cat lovers ourselves, we aim to write about the topics that matter the most to you and your furry friend. If you have any questions, please contact our customer service team. 🐶🐱


  • Hi LuAnne,

    You can check out our full selection of pet doors for storm doors here: The Dog Mate 215 is a great option for installation in thin materials: (it also has a rigid flap that many cats prefer over a flexible flap).

    Please feel free to contact us at or 1-800-826-2871 if you have any questions!

    Happy holidays!

    Elizabeth (Staff)
  • Hi, I have a storm door with a lower aluminum kick plate (thinner material) that’s approx. 26" wide x 11" tall that I’d like to put a pet door in that will lock too. It’s for VERY large cats (one is 25+ lbs.! – the average cat is 8 – 10 lbs.) Do you have anything that will work? Thanks in advance!

    LuAnne Wilson

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